VC INTERVIEW | Michael Tilson Thomas – New World Symphony ‘Viola Visions’ Inventive Director

The Violin Channel not too long ago caught up with 2019 New World Symphony ‘Viola Visions’ Competition Inventive Director, Michael Tilson Thomas.

Watch the 2019 ‘Viola Visions’ Week dwell on The Violin Channel – direct from Miami Seaside, Florida, United States.


Michael, Please inform us in regards to the ‘Viola Visions’ Competition that you just and the New World Symphony are internet hosting in Miami Seaside, this week …

“Viola Visions is the primary in a brand new collection of annual festivals dedicated to a specific instrument within the orchestra.

Joined by a spectacular line-up of violists — Roberto Díaz, Kim Kashkashian, Matthew Lipman, Nadia Sirota, Cynthia Phelps, Jonathan Vinocour, and Tabea Zimmermann —we’re exploring the previous, current, and potential way forward for the viola over 5 days on the New World Heart and sharing the whole pageant expertise with audiences on-line, making this a really international occasion”


What highlights of those 5 days you might be most trying ahead to?

“With so many unbelievable musicians taking part and a lot fascinating music being carried out, it’s very tough to single out anybody spotlight, however I can say that I’ve been particularly trying ahead to the web, interactive components of the pageant, which permit us to attach with the viola group worldwide.

Not solely can viewers live-stream our discussions, workshops, grasp lessons, and performances totally free, however they’re in a position to take part in actual time — partaking immediately with our visitor artists, Fellows, and myself by way of the web.

I’m additionally trying ahead to the improbable number of up to date viola music we’ve programmed, together with world-premiere commissions from Steven Mackey and NWS alumnus Nils Bultmann.

We’ll even have most of the composers with us to supply their views on the viola and the way that manifests of their work”


The place did this concept come from, and what are you hoping your group can obtain?

“I’ve lengthy been curious about discovering methods to showcase orchestral devices that haven’t historically been within the limelight.

So many of those devices have unbelievable repertoire written for them — from solo items to chamber works to concerti — and one in every of our targets is rising the viewers for this music.

As well as, the 21st century has seen composers revisit and rethink a few of these devices to search out new and artistic methods of expressing their distinctive voices, together with by way of the usage of cutting-edge expertise.

I hope that by showcasing the perfect of every instrument’s previous and current we are able to exhibit the breadth of its musical potential, whereas additionally serving to to forge connections between musicians and music lovers around the globe”


With this being an annual occasion during which annually focuses on a distinct instrument, how did you resolve to begin with the fantastic viola?

“One of many causes I made a decision to start with the viola is as a result of — paradoxically — it’s essentially the most well-known for being neglected, regardless of having such a tremendous custom.

That custom contains masterpieces by Berlioz, Mozart, and different nice composers of the previous, and it’s a practice that continues at present as composers discover intriguing new instructions for the instrument.

It’s an thrilling musical frontier and appeared like the proper place to begin for this new initiative”


What are a few of the initiatives you may have deliberate to contain the worldwide string group on-line throughout this week’s pageant?

“One of many key points of Viola Visions is the live-streaming of each musical second of the pageant on our (and the Violin Channel’s) Fb pages, in addition to the October 17 live performance (“Visions and Installations”) by way of Medici.TV.

We’ll even be sharing pageant content material on YouTube and our on-line MUSAIC platform so that folks can entry it on-demand sooner or later.

Additionally, as I discussed earlier, violists and viola aficionados around the globe will be capable of interact with us dwell by way of the web throughout sure occasions, together with a grasp class Q&A.

We’ll even be asking violists to get entangled with our Viola Visions Follow Room, the place we will likely be partaking with their performances and excerpts on Instagram.

Utilizing expertise to construct connections between musicians is a vital aim of ours on the New World Symphony, and we’re thrilled to be furthering that aim with this pageant”


How can individuals who wish to be taught extra get entangled?

There are many methods for folks to be taught extra in regards to the pageant and the best way to get entangled.

The simplest manner is to look on the Viola Visions website online (, which has the complete particulars of each live performance, workshop, and live-stream, in addition to how one can work together with the pageant.

As well as, we’ll be conserving everybody updated with info on our Fb, Twitter, and Instagram pages, in addition to our live-streams being broadcast on each the Fb and Violin Channel Fb pages.

Hold an eye fixed out on social media for #NWSViolaVisions for methods you may participate and see how everybody else is concerned”



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